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Clauses: Independent and Dependent Clauses

HyperWrite's Clauses: Independent and Dependent Clauses Study Guide is your comprehensive resource for mastering the use of clauses in English grammar. This guide covers the definitions, types, and functions of both independent and dependent clauses, with examples and practice exercises to reinforce your understanding.

What are Clauses?

A clause is a group of words that contains a subject and a predicate (verb). Clauses are the building blocks of sentences and can be classified as either independent or dependent.

Common Terms and Definitions

Independent Clause: A clause that can stand alone as a complete sentence, expressing a complete thought. It has a subject and a predicate and does not depend on another clause to make sense.

Dependent Clause: A clause that cannot stand alone as a complete sentence and depends on an independent clause to express a complete thought. It often begins with a subordinating conjunction or a relative pronoun.

Subordinating Conjunction: A word that introduces a dependent clause and shows its relationship to the independent clause. Common subordinating conjunctions include: after, although, as, because, before, if, since, than, though, unless, until, when, where, and while.

Relative Pronoun: A word that introduces a dependent clause and relates it to a noun or pronoun in the independent clause. Relative pronouns include: who, whom, whose, that, and which.

Complex Sentence: A sentence that contains one independent clause and one or more dependent clauses.

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Types of Dependent Clauses

Adverb Clause: A dependent clause that functions as an adverb, modifying a verb, adjective, or another adverb in the independent clause. It answers questions such as when, where, why, how, and to what extent.

Adjective Clause: A dependent clause that functions as an adjective, modifying a noun or pronoun in the independent clause. It is often introduced by a relative pronoun.

Noun Clause: A dependent clause that functions as a noun in the independent clause. It can act as a subject, object, or complement.

Examples of Independent and Dependent Clauses

Independent Clause: She loves to read books.

Dependent Clause (Adverb): When she has free time, she loves to read books.

Dependent Clause (Adjective): The books that she reads are usually mysteries.

Dependent Clause (Noun): What she reads is her personal choice.

Punctuating Clauses

  • When a dependent clause comes before an independent clause, use a comma to separate them.
  • When a dependent clause comes after an independent clause, no comma is needed unless the dependent clause is nonessential (provides extra information).
  • When a nonessential dependent clause comes in the middle of an independent clause, use commas to set it off on both sides.

Common Questions and Answers

What is the difference between an independent and a dependent clause?

An independent clause can stand alone as a complete sentence, while a dependent clause cannot. A dependent clause relies on an independent clause to express a complete thought.

How can I identify a dependent clause in a sentence?

Dependent clauses often begin with a subordinating conjunction (e.g., after, although, because) or a relative pronoun (e.g., who, which, that). They contain a subject and a predicate but do not express a complete thought on their own.

Can a sentence have more than one dependent clause?

Yes, a complex sentence can have one independent clause and multiple dependent clauses. The dependent clauses can be of the same or different types (adverb, adjective, or noun).

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Conclusion

Understanding the difference between independent and dependent clauses is crucial for constructing grammatically correct and effective sentences. By mastering the types and functions of clauses, as well as their proper punctuation, you will be well-equipped to express your ideas clearly and coherently in both written and spoken English.

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Clauses: Independent and Dependent Clauses
Understand the difference between independent and dependent clauses and how they function in sentences
What is a complex sentence?
A complex sentence is a sentence that contains one independent clause and one or more dependent clauses. The dependent clauses can function as adverbs, adjectives, or nouns within the sentence.

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